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Your attention, please

 

“There are only three things women need in life: food, water and compliments.” – Chris Rock

For your information Chris, I also need shoes; lots of them.

But as a women navigating the twentieth century, I must admit compliments and attention in general are like a drug. Some women will do anything to get it, and when they do, it’s never enough. I say ‘some’ in order to be politically correct; but the politically incorrect truth is that more of us than not, struggle with this.

The problem is there’s only so much attention to go around, which leaves many women frustrated and unsatisfied, and eventually, jealous and vengeful. What an insult to the persona of the fairer sex (note: puns are always intended). It bothers me that our gender is increasingly becoming associated with these petty squabbles and self-depreciating behaviors.

The women’s cry for attention has found its way off of human rights manifestoes and onto the covers of tabloids. Women use terms like ‘bi***’ and ‘sl**’ towards each other just as much, if not more often, than men do.

So, how is it that we have become dealers of our own degradation? What women in general must admit is that we have fallen prey to a sad social phenomenon: spotlight hoarding. Many of us enjoy the spotlight, which is fine. The trouble starts when a prerequisite of the spotlight is that it has to be shone by a man (or men).

The society we live in makes sure young girls and women believe their beauty needs a man’s seal of approval before it actually exists. Music videos, movies, magazines, and pop culture in general bombard women with a “for men” mentality; have a nice body to impress him (not because it’s healthy and keeps you strong) and be smart because smart is the new sexy (not because intelligence is your natural heritage). Even a woman’s achievements are often revolved around a man’s approval, because we all know that “a real man likes strong, independent women.”

Who cares what men like? Is it such a foreign concept to be beautiful, smart and successful for ourselves, simply because it feels good and we, as women, were created with the capacity to do so? Do we even remember how to do this anymore? Or have we come to the point where no matter how great we are it won’t feel good until he says so?

Population statics alone prove there are not enough men on the planet to provide women with a steady stream of unabashed adoration; perhaps that’s why this attention is so coveted. But it is also an illusion; a misplaced correlation between a women’s self and a man’s blessings upon that self.

As a teenager, I never considered myself attractive until that first guy baptised me into the world of self-consciousness. And that’s when the ‘attention games’ began. It felt good to be approved of, admired and adored, and of course, everyone was doing it.

Years later, after experiencing emotional, physical and mental burnout many women, like me, come to the realisation that this is all, frankly, nonsense. It’s an upward battle from there on in to be able to look at yourself in the mirror, like what you see, and have that be enough.

 — Summer Yasmin

‘No Sex in the City’ is inspired by the popular TV show Sex and the City, and is a voice representing Desi romance and culture in all its complexities!

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